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Trend Alert: Is Navy the New Black?

By 06/26/2012January 28th, 201737 Comments

My good friend Stu Stiller is always sending me colourful emails to keep me on my toes and the latest was Kohler’s new colourful sink collection by Jonathan Adler.

Images from Kohler

This is Jonathan’s kitchen, he chose the green for himself. What I find fascinating about his colour choices is that this green is so close to the avocado green appliances from the 70’s. Also when compared to the other colours (below) it feels slightly dull, maybe.

This yellow green has been around for over 10 years now and with this new introduction into a permanent fixture such as a sink, it’s obviously here to stay. According to Jonathan and Kohler anyway.

He also chose a turquoise which I love and of course the yellow! I’m looking forward to seeing more yellow incorporated into interiors and home decor, it’s been absent for so long.

Jonathan calls the navy sink classic and chic. An amazing foundation to pop with other strong colours. He said he uses navy a lot in his interiors.

It’s softer than black but still looks so good with white + strong colour.

There’s a few video clips you can watch and in one Jonathan says he doesn’t understand people who are afraid of colour, ‘When I’m old’ he says, ‘I want to remember the blue room and the green powder room, not just a haze of beige nothingness’.

Because I help my clients choose colour every single day, my theory on why so many people are afraid of colour is because it’s easier to be offended by the wrong colour than it is the wrong neutral. The wrong neutral bothers us too, but not as instantly as the wrong colour.

If you’ve ever painted a room a colour and got it wrong, you most likely re-painted immediately! With the wrong neutral, it’s easier to say “Oh that’s good enough, it’s just the ______room anyway”.

And, colour creates a happy space for sure! It’s why I’m in the business of colour and design, I love to help you, my lovely reader and my clients create a space that fills you with happiness when you walk in the door.

So what do you think? Would you incorporate navy into your space over black as the grounding neutral? Do you think we’ll all replace our gray or brown sofas with navy ones in the near future?

What about colourful sinks? Will you dare to install one in your home?

Related posts:

Trend Alert: How Blue is your Green?

Bright Colour needs a Healthy Dose of White

White is a Snob

Download my eBook, How to Choose Paint Colours: It’s All in the Undertones, to get the undertone of your neutrals right. 

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.

To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn to how choose the right colours for your home or for your clients, become a True Colour Expert. 

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  • I LOVE navy! Like a big, puffy, fuzzy heart LOVE navy. And I always have. So yes, I would use navy in my space over black any day of the week! That being said, I’m afraid that given the chance, my entire house would be shades of blue… lol

  • Martha Hughes says:

    We owned an older house once built in 1939. One bathroom was pink and burgundy. The sink, toilet, and bathtub were all burgundy. I really liked those fixtures and we worked hard at preserving them. It was really a wonderful vintage look. The sink had a waterfall type spout. The other bathroom was an awful green. The huge green tiles were on all the walls and shower. The saving grace of this bathroom was the yellow sink and toilet. Again another very cool sink. If we would have lived there longer I would have loved to take out the tile in the green bathroom. So yes, I would like the new colors in sinks. I guess you have to decide if you can live with something over the long haul. Some times fixtures look outdated, but if enough time goes by they sort of change to charming.

    • teresa says:

      I know exactly the colours you’re talking about. I once had a 1934 house with the same. When I replaced the hideous modern toilet I was able to find a matching original one. One of the large baths had beautiful Rookwood tile in iridescent black with lavender,peach and lavender and pink raised border and black and white basketweave tile floor with pink border. All fixtures were black including an original low toilet. It was a dream. the master was small octagonal white flooring with pearl grey tile accented within by small white inlay. All gone today…replaced by the new owners with brown tuscan c#$p about 4 years ago. Already outdated. At least I can’t see it when I run by everyday. CTD

  • Peggy Reed says:

    I would be thrilled if NAVY is the new black!

  • Mira Crisp says:

    I LOVE navy and navy has always been my alternative for black. However, since the only black piece of the furniture I currently have in the house is a black glass TV stand (that will soon be replaced with something lighter), I cannot really see much of navy in my interior at this point. If I had a son, his room would probably be navy (but I don’t have a son 🙂 ) Still, I am so happy to read this article and see that navy is coming…
    BTW After sampling five different grays yesterday, I went to SW today and followed your advice from the article on grays you wrote for SW. I got Agreeable Gray since I have a lot of white and linens and I love it!!! The guy in the store commented that he’s been selling a lot of Agreeable Gray lately. I told him that’s probably because of your blog post; we chatted about the post for a bit. 🙂

  • It’s funny, but I’ve been pining to do a navy and cream room and trying to decide which room I could use those colours in. Now I see I”m just part of a trend – darn.

    • Kristen says:

      Grace, it appears that I find out very soon after I do ANYTHING that I am on trend and quite honestly it’s a little disappointing. Just when you think you’re on to something original, so does the rest of the design world! However, that does just give me a little boost thinking “Aha! I thought of it BEFORE I saw it in a magazine/blog/tv show!! Maybe I AM a decent designer afterall!!!!”

  • teresa says:

    I love navy (which looks super with your favorite yellow btw) and am thinking of recovering the loveseat in my bedroom with a velvet. I am tending toward a midnight blue however, which has been my favorite moody colour since I was a child. Not sure if that qualifies, but it’s close. Navy and gray can look a bit grim together sometimes depending on the shade and undertone, so not sure how this will play out. I think you’re right in that it will be one or the other. Beautiful sinks…I consider the navy one more of a midnight blue.
    I never really had an objection to avocado green and in fact loved it in clothing. I have a lot of vintage wool suits in that shade and it blends well with so many other colors. Think eggplant. The horrible brown wood cabinetry, and vinyl flooring of that era is what really made it so depressing. It’s positively sparkling in the white br pictured. CTD

  • Rene says:

    YES! and Navy slides into the different greys and blues which are such calming and relaxing colors for a home!

  • Barb says:

    I think black is an elegant color and lend sophistication to anything. But…a rich, beautiful navy also has it’s place. My question is since I feel grays are going out and beige and those lattes are coming around again, what undertoned beige would go better with a navy accent?

    • Maria Killam says:

      They all work with navy, even pink beige! And grays are not going out anytime soon. Most people are tired of earth tones, at least in my experience anyway! Thanks for your comment Barb! Maria

  • OK, I love Navy, but now back to his choice of green. It looks too dirty to me, compared to the other pretty clean colors. Or does the fact that it’s green mean it’s OK to mix dirty with clean? I seem to find that dirty green is the color that I come across the most mixed with clean colors. And I don’t like it one bit! Does anyone else see this?

  • Sue says:

    Navy and indigo are my favorite colors to base a room around. After reading your post on having a sofa in a color you love, I just redid my sofa in navy after years of wishing it was. Walking into the room and seeing it graced with pillows in three patterns that took months to locate make me happy every time.

  • Carol Anne says:

    for me personnal… navy no, black yes,
    for clients… I work with what ever they ask for or want.
    as for coloured sinks etc, I liken them to the colour you choose for your car… if you change your car every 3-4 years, yes get any colour that you love thats trendy….. if you want to keep your car for longer get a neutral colour
    ever see a car colour and think, that so 1997… that would be me every time I looked at my lime green etc sink…

  • Linda V says:

    Love navy and love black. They are so classic, elegant restful,grounding and timeless, just everything you could wish for. And of course you can team them with other neutrals or something more colourful.

  • I guess I am right on trend because my living room is Navy, White and Chartreuse green…of course it has been that for three years now and I am thinking of a change..decisions decisions 🙂

  • debbiecz says:

    Love navy and would strongly consider it for a sofa or chairs or drapes. But a sink? Sorry Kohler/Adler my sinks will be white. I grew up in a red/white & blue bathroom renovated in, yes, 1976 to celebrate the bicentennial! The red Kohler sink shows every soap spot and is a pain to clean. The downstairs bathroom is a harvest green sink & toilet. My hubby, a plumbing contractor in Chicago, is constantly asked by my mom to take the fixtures out but he says they belong in a museum so he won’t touch them. Note: these bathrooms are both in a colonial home dating back before 1811 – not a good look! But I like the other colors Adler has chosen, perhaps a sink in a powder room would be ok but it reminds me of the color craze in kitchen appliances. How many colored frigs do you see?

  • I actually adore navy and black together in the same room. But for colored fixtures, not for me. As a decorator, I love changing things, and a colored sink would be way to limiting for me. For a client, total fun!

  • Claire says:

    This post is so apropos… It is likely that my family will be moving into a home with navy carpet throughout much of the open-plan house. We will not change the carpet… at least for awhile. Although I do love navy, at first, I struggled with the idea of: 1) carpet as opposed to hardwood; and 2) NAVY carpet. However, I realized that the blackish blue carpet truly can work as a neutral. And, for me, there is something really fresh about this color, as opposed to the browns and tans. My dilemma is more about the white walls… Yes, I agree, crisp white is a great partner to navy. However, in this particular house, the ceilings are high, there are many tall windows and the white wall color is quite cold. I’d like walls with a more interesting color to coordinate with the navy carpet and then show the pops of white in fabrics and my blue transferware pottery. Maybe add an old oriental carpet, with splashes of red, over the blue rug in the seating area and pick-up the red around the room as well (ack! Am I talking red, white and blue here?). Or, go with a deep off-white or beige with grassy green and robin’s egg blue (I could accent with little touches of red, deep pink or yellow)… I must be mindful to choose a timeless, not-so-in-yer-face color for the wall, especially with a deep-blue rug and the open floor plan. *SIGH* Regardless, I am excited about the “neutral” navy rug… I’ll be sure to contact you down the road, Maria, about wall color options!

    • Paula Van Hoogen says:

      O Claire, be sure & store the vacuum really close to that navy carpet! I had one in a purchased home some years back, and had to vacuum it constantly (well it needed it all the time, let me say that). Hope it’s not in a walk area for you. Pretty on the face of it but let me know how you feel in a year.

  • Samantha says:

    Following trends is the biggest waste of money. Buy what you love and you will never tire of it; stop thinking of your home as something to be resold and to be furnished for the future.

  • I love navy! I specified a navy sofa for the first time maybe 2-3 years ago and was thrilled with the results!

  • Jody says:

    About 5 years ago I painted my dining room walls navy blue from the chair rail up to the crown molding, gloss white wainscoting beneath the chair rail, a white ceiling and it has a medium tone wood floor. It served as a design studio for a couple of years with white Ikea bookshelves and lime green accents and now it serves as a library with antique leather books in shades of burgundy, green, and black on the same Ikea bookshelves. A few brass and copper accents is stunning and provides a timeless look. I was surprised at how versatile navy really is and with the library being located in the center of the house, it is a perfect transition into the other spaces.

    • Laura says:

      Jody, this is exactly what I am planning to do a room -white wainscot and navy blue walls. However, I am stumped on what shade to pick. I don’t want a navy that is “teenage boy”. Do you remember the brand and number of the navy you used?

  • Brenda says:

    We recently built a cottage and decided on Hale Navy for the siding, with Oxford White as the trim. We considered green, but decided that green is too volatile because what once looks classic can quickly become dated. One day, it hit me that we should paint the exterior Navy. It was like one of Oprah’s “lightbulb” moments. Navy is a constant, in my opinion. Navy is Navy. I was so excited. And now that it is finished, I LOVE it. I am just hoping the dark colour doesn’t fade too much in the sun.

  • Paula Van Hoogen says:

    Navy seems like a great bridge between the brown/beige trend and the gray trend. If you can’t afford to go all the way, navy accents will spark up a shaker beige room for example!! Read something once: blue makes white look whiter (cleaner),and white makes blue look bluer.

  • Linda @ House of Chandler says:

    I have lived with color. I remember the avocado green, harvest gold, and coppertone in the 1970’s. Mostly in appliances. I renovated a 1950’s rancher that had a blue, bathtub, toilet and lavatory in one bathroom, and pink toilet and sink in the other. It was a show house built on a golf course by the developer for his private residence and the designers were praised! I lived in a house built in the early 80’s that had a black toilet and sink in one bathroom and beige toilet, sink and tub in the other. All were tastefully done and expensive at the time, but quickly dated. For me, I will always put white sinks, toilets, and tubs in bathrooms, and stainless or white sinks with stainless appliances in kitchens and laundry rooms. I never get tired of classic. Love your blog, Maria. You are so talented.

  • Jude Hannah says:

    I an old enough to remember the avocado green appliances and this new sink looks cleaner and brighter than those vintage 70s appliances.
    I am not a professional decorator but my rule of thumb about fixtures like sinks, tubs etc. is that you can never go wrong with white. Unless you have the $$ to remodel every few years trendy colors will look dated too soon.
    Just bought your ebook Maria and am looking forward to reading it this long weekend
    Happy Canada Day y’all

    • Kay says:

      Jude, you are so right! I lived it(and worked it) too. Adler’s green is not really retro. It’s brighter with more yellow rather than muddy blue undertone of that vintage version. I have always felt that splashy colored fixtures are for a particular type of client. And I always warn them about water spots and soap residue buildup. But usually these clients are not so concerned about maintenance. They employ people to take care of those pesky spots. It’s not really an issue!

  • Carol says:

    The sinks are pretty, but I would never choose an architectural element (built into the house) that is a bright color. It will be dated in a few years and will always be an issue whenever the house is sold. He must not plan to keep the house and live with it, or he likes to tear out the kitchen every few years and make big changes-which is possible. Great colors like these are best used in decor and paint rather than in built-in items.

  • Carol says:

    Navy is great – and a horror to live with in upholstery. Lint is a constant bother. I had a beautiful dark green one years ago that never looked good unless it was freshly vacuumed! So if you use navy upholstery, just plan to live with this problem. So pretty when it is delinted!

  • Jillian says:

    I personally love navy and the idea of bringing color back into fixtures like these. When I first spotted this collection by JA, I immediately wished I was doing a kitchen remodel so I could use the farmhouse sink in one of the blues with white cabinets (of course!).

  • Rebecca says:

    I lived with copper tone and then avocado green appliances. I had blue, green, and pinkish tan bathroom fixtures. Never will you get me to pick color in appliances or plumbing fixtures. Neutrals will be the only way I will ever go unless money starts growing on trees.
    I call what Kohler is doing – “planned obsolescence”.

  • I am partial to blues so naturally I do love Navy however as it is not presently popular on the Fashion Runway, I cannot see it catching on in Interior Design even if Johnathan Adler’s name is attached to it. Perhaps when the global economy picks up, but until then I doubt you will be seeing a lot of it.

  • Hi Maria.

    I would like to believe that navy could be a color used as easily and regularly as black when designing a home interior. I am curious to see if navy will show up more in home furnishings; it seems like window treatments and area rugs may be a more practical approach to introducing this color in the home. I also wonder if it is too domineering in some spaces, even if navy does lend a hint of color as opposed to sticking to neutrals.

    What is your professional opinion?

    Demetria N. Loukas
    Washington D.C., USA

  • Kathysue says:

    maria, I am actually working on a new project right now that will be navy, turquoise and a pop of bright marigold yellow. Love this combination. I agree, yellow needs to come back. I said that a couple of years ago that I thought we would be seeing more of it on the horizon so it looks like maybe it has arrived again!!

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